Veteran Affairs Disability Benefit Backlog Update
The State Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) claims to be concerned and eagerly pushing to downsize the current disability claims backlog. The Obama administration has promised disabled veterans in New Mexico and nationwide a hike in VA discretionary spending for the 2014 fiscal year. Officials are concerned about the estimated 900,000 U.S. veterans currently waiting months or years for disability checks (600,000 waiting more than four months). The proposal would boost “non-entitlement spending” to $63.5 billion for 2014 (4% increase from 2013). The VA has increased its budget since 2009 by 41%; however, the current plan in place is keeping the pace of incoming disability claims ahead of the VA’s processing time.
The administration voiced the high priority on VA spending and processing the almost 1 million pending VA disability applications and payments; yet, this may come at a cost to those on Social Security Disability and Medicare. Major federal disability benefit programs such as Medicare, Social Security, and SSI may be cutback in order to cover the cost increase in VA disability claims. The new proposed plan claims to expedite disability claim processing times and end the backlog of disability cases by 2015. The plan was initiated in January 2014 and should be fully in place nationwide by the end of 2014. A few of the highlighted VA funding recommendations include:
- $2.5 billion for Veterans Benefits Administration management, including $200-300 million for up-to-date technology programs to make paper processing of claims and medical records obsolete.
- $7 billion to expand mental health services, with emphasis on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Military Sexual Trauma (rape in the military).
- Additional funds to ensure a permanent change for employers to receive up to $5,600 in tax credits when hiring a veteran and $9,600 in tax credits for hiring a disabled vet.
If you need to file a VA disability application or your disability claim has been denied, contact an Albuquerque, New Mexico disability attorney experienced in VA benefits. Ron Bell personal injury lawyers are available to provide you with free legal advice and a free consultation regarding your disability benefits claim. Injury victims pay no legal fees upfront and never pay any fees unless we win your claim for benefits.